MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A new study from the University of Minnesota says socioeconomic status can account for the racial and ethnic survival disparity for some types of childhood cancer.

According to the study, the survival rates for many types of childhood cancer are substantially lower for African-American and Hispanic children in the United States compared to non-Hispanic white children.

The 5-year survival rate for central nervous system tumors is about 66 percent for African American children and 70 percent for Hispanic children compared to 74 percent for non-Hispanic white children, the University of Minnesota said.

“We need continued research focused on understanding and ultimately addressing racial and ethnic disparities in childhood survival of certain cancers,” said Rebecca Kehm, a doctoral student who led the study. “These disparities could be reduced by alleviating social and economic barriers to effective care, such as expanding health insurance coverage, improving patient care coordination, increasing health literacy and supporting transportation and childcare costs during treatment.”

Specifically, the study found that socioeconomic status accounted for 28 to 73 percent of the racial and ethnic survival disparity for certain types of childhood cancer, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, neuroblastoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The study also shows that socioeconomic status did not significantly contribute to the survival disparity in central nervous system tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, Hodgkin lymphoma, Wilms tumor and germ cell tumors.

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